Serious emerging implications with illness of GECOM’s chairman

first_imgDear Editor,Recently published media articles reported the ill health of Mr James Patterson, Chairman of the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM). From a humanitarian standpoint, one should indeed be very sympathetic in learning that an illness has caused the Chairman to be in and out of the hospital. Given the demands of the office he holds, his age and the reported nature of the ailment; divine intervention towards a speedy recovery is wished and herein expressed.There are, however, many serious emerging implications as a consequence of this unfortunate vicissitude. It is, therefore, with restraint that one must consider the toll this experience will likely have, even with pious interventions. It brings to the fore and highlights the serious questions about critical decisions currently needed, regarding actions to drive the strongly required improvements of the functioning of GECOM’s Secretariat.There are many burning questions about accountability, transparency, and now, the special audit on some of GECOM’s staff operations which have been on the front burner for some time. It is imperative, critical and necessary for these issues to be resolved as Guyana heads to 2020 National and Regional Elections.The importance of GECOM getting it right cannot be understated. The immediacy of clearly verifiable results from transparent systems is of ultimate paramountcy. Further, the fact that 2018 Local Government Elections (LGE) are over and the nation is still awaiting the release of the official report on the Elections, is indeed an absolute indictment which the organisation cannot afford. It begs questions about how long the official result of the next elections take, which can result in absolute chaos.The situation further justifies the need to have in place a mechanism that will further strengthen and support the ‘Statements of Poll’ system. As such, this column calls for GECOM’s Chairman and Commissioners to swiftly reconsider the seemingly cast aside, recent United Nations Assessment. This review, we are advised, would have more likely informed conditions for the complementary finger print system, and also engender stronger confidence in the voting population.It is very clear that GECOM stands vanguard over upholding Guyana’s democracy through its role exercised through the conduct of National Elections. In executing this role, the Chairman and Commissioners of the Organisation must be cognizant that less than acceptable conduct at the various levels, can influence a further rapid deterioration into social and economic anarchy. The policies of the organisation in this realm, must therefore provide equal opportunities to all stakeholders without fear, favour or ambiguousness.In the current environment, there is quite a lot to be achieved towards this end. Advanced preparation under an effective functioning and monitoring by an objective Commission is necessary. However, the possibility of the Chairman’s prolonged or even occasional absence at this time, informs further serious challenges.The fact that the results of the 2015 General and Regional Elections have been challenged in the courts on very serious operational and highly questionable grounds also speak volumes. It is correctly argued by many, that such matters should be treated as the matters of national security they are, and be given the most expeditious hearing once it is verified that the justifications stand on good grounds. This approach must be seriously thought out and effected by the Judiciary.The illness of Mr Patterson will slow down many things, even as the general public is aware that at least some of the Commissioners are kept in limbo. There are still very serious questions about the staff that works during the Elections. At the very beginning, the Returning Officers (ROs) were ‘hand-picked’, although there were serious allegations and objection against these persons.Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img read more

Women Pledge Support to Boakai Presidential Bid

first_imgBusinesswomen in District #15, Montserrado County, have pledged their support to the presidential bid of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai in the 2017 general and presidential elections.They made their pledge recently in Caldwell at a town hall meeting, where they gathered to discuss economic and other national issues that affect their businesses.“We the businesswomen in Caldwell assure Veep Boakai of our support for the 2017 presidential race. You can count on us,” they indicated.Spokesperson Madam Haja Gray believes that “if the VP is elected as President, he will help them become self-sufficient, productive and efficient in catering to their families.”Madam Gray sells slippers, shoes and dry goods in Caldwell Market.According to her, there are lots of things the UP government has done for them, especially at the grassroots level in the business sector and as such, citizens of the country must elect VP Boakai to continue the legacy of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.Madam Gray said: “We are willing to support him to the fullest.”After pledging their support, Madam Gray vowed that they are ready when given the necessary support to help tackle unemployment as well as stabilize the economy.She further stated that the businesswomen can turn the country’s economic turmoil around if given the needed push from government which she said would enable them to contribute their quota to stabilize the country’s currency.“We are not against foreign competition, but we want support to be able to compete with foreign businesses,” she added.Also speaking, head of Thumbs-Up Women Business Association, Ruth Parker, urged the businesswomen to make more efforts to grow their businesses.Parker noted that developing a strong, coherent, transparent and supportive policy on entrepreneurship needs a comprehensive consultative exercise on the topic.“The opportunity for our businesses to succeed and grow supports our future potential for increased employment, growth and prosperity,” she said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

AC Milan confirm Liverpool star to make summer switch

first_imgAC Milan will only make a move for Liverpool midfielder Suso once he becomes a free agent this summer, according to club administrator Adriano Galliani.Reports in Italy claim the 21-year-old, whose current deal with the Reds expires in July, has agreed a four-year contract with the Rossoneri outfit and could even join the San Siro club this month.When asked about Suso, Galliani told his club’s official website: “It’s a hypothesis.“I’ve known him since he played for Spain’s Under-19 team.“His contract runs out and he is keen to join us. It’s a viable hypothesis from July 1 when his contract with Liverpool expires.”Suso moved to Anfield from Cadiz in 2010 but has made just 14 Premier League appearances for Liverpool since.He spent last season on loan in La Liga with Almeria and impressed at the heart of the side’s attack. 1 Suso in action for Liverpool last_img